Bowman's Band wins the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes.

Bowman's Band wins the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes.

Equi-Photo, Ryan McAlinden

Bowman's Band Beats Drum at Meadowlands

Martin S. Schwartz's Bowman's Band, making his first start for Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens, kicked clear in the upper stretch and went on to post a 12-1 upset in Friday night's $400,000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. II).

Defending Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi, sent off at 9-10, finished fourth but was moved up to third on disqualification. Considered a contender for the Classic once again this year, Volponi has lost seven consecutive races in 2003.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Bowman's Band, a 5-year-old chestnut horse by Dixieland Band, held off Dynever and Corey Nakatani by 1 3/4 lengths. Pacesetting Unforgettable Max, with J.C. Ferrer aboard, finishing third, 4 3/4 lengths behind the winner and a neck in front of Volponi and John Velazquez. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile event was 1:46 4/5.

Bowman's Band, who was fourth in last year's Meadowlands Cup, was the fifth winner of the night for Ramon Dominguez.

Unforgettable Max, who started from the three post, veered in at the start causing Volponi, in the two slot, to pinch back at the start, resulting in the disqualification.

Bowman's Band tracked Unforgettable Max through fractions of :23 3/5, :46 4/5 and 1:10 before making a three-wide move on the turn. He dueled with the leader briefly in upper stretch before gaining command. Dynever, last of six down the backstretch but never far behind, moved into contention at the start of the final turn and had aim on Bowman's Band in the stretch but could not make an impact.

After stalking the pace most of the way, Volponi started a bid on the outside on the final turn but flattened out and finished evenly.

Volponi used a second-place finish in last year's Meadowlands Cup as the springboard to the Breeders' Cup victory. This was a less impressive performance.

``He just wasn't there for me,'' jockey John Velazquez said. ``They got the jump on me and he had too much ground to make up.''

Bowman's Band was recently moved to Jerkens from the barn of Michael Matz. He picked up his third win of the year and his first-ever graded stakes victory, winning $240,000. His overall record in three seasons improved to 7-7-1 in 20 starts with earnings of $832,900.

``He just came last week,'' Jerkens said. ``He obviously was in good shape. It's bad luck for the other guy but it's good luck for me.''

John W. Rooker bred Bowman's Band, who is out of the Pleasant Colony mare Hometown Queen, in Kentucky.

The winner paid $26.60, $8.60 and $2.80. Dynever returned $4.60 and $2.40. Volponi, who raced without blinkers, paid $2.10.

(Chart, Equibase)